As the author of over 20 novels and 100 short stories, the recipient of dozens of awards, and the inventor of sci-fi concepts that remain staples in the genre today, Ursula K. Le Guin’s influence on science fiction is undeniable. I first read The Dispossessed in college and have been a dedicated fan ever since, devouring any Le Guin book I could get my hands on. Her works have been published and republished many times over her 60+ years as a working author. However, when I looked at her novels on bookstore shelves, I noticed they were designed in a wide range of styles with little visual cohesion. I decided to redesign three of her books in a cohesive style as a tribute to one of my favorite authors. 
Project Category: Book Cover Design, Illustration, Layout
Timeframe: 7 weeks
Collaborators: Solo Project
Roles: Illustrator, Layout Designer
Tools: Procreate, Adobe InDesign, Figma 
A small sample of the wide variety of book cover styles for The Lathe of Heaven.
How might I re-design several of Ursula K. Le Guin's books
in a cohesive style to be sold as a set, appealing to both
longtime fans and new readers?
Iteration & Discovery: 
Making a large number of sketches, as quickly as possible, helps me get past the most obvious solutions and into more unexpected and interesting concepts. My process starts on paper, with a 4 ft tall roll of butcher paper that I roll out over my dining room table and fill with sketches.

For this project, I began sketching for each individual book and then realized that to create a set of cohesive designs, I would need to come up with the concepts as a set by finding both the similarities and differences in themes and imagery between the books.
Literary Analysis
After collecting a broad range of book covers for inspiration, I narrowed them down to a simple, bold, retro style. Although these stories are set in the distant future or on a faraway planet, they were all written in the 1970s. By embracing a retro aesthetic, I sought to pay homage to the fact that these books have stood the test of time and garnered a devoted following over the span of more than five decades. This style choice not only adds a touch of nostalgia but also highlights their status as beloved classics.
Final Designs
The Left Hand of Darkness
Book Summary: Genly Ai lands on the planet Gethen as a representative of a confederation of planets, The Ekuman. The people of this planet are ambisexual with no fixed gender. The book follows Ai on his political mission and his developing understanding of the gender of the people of this planet.

For this design, I wanted to express the duality and balance of the Gethinian’s shifting genders and the political battles between the two countries that Ai explores.


“As all the stars may be reflected in a round raindrop falling in the night: so too do all the stars reflect the raindrop”

“Light is the left hand of darkness and darkness the right hand of light. Two are one, life and death, lying together like lovers in kemmer, like hands joined together, like the end and the way.”
The Lathe of Heaven
Book Summary: George Orr’s dreams change reality, and he is deeply afraid of what he might accidentally do with this power. He goes to a therapist, who initially thinks Orr is crazy until he sees proof of his power. The therapist takes advantage of Orr’s abilities to disastrous effect.
Here, I wanted to contrast the stability represented by the mountain featured heavily throughout the book with the fleeting dream-like butterfly that can have a much larger impact than you might think. 
“Everything dreams. The play of form, of being, is the dreaming of substance. Rocks have their dreams, and the earth changes....”
The Dispossessed
Book Summary: A revolution results in the ruling class giving the moon to the anarchists to run as they like. 100 years later, an anarchist society has grown on the moon that is generally egalitarian, but with the beginnings of a bureaucracy growing within it. Shevek is a physicist who needs to go back to the main planet to further his scientific discoveries and is the first person to return in 100 years. The book follows his exploration of the Capitalist society with its opulence and inequality.

The moon is poor in resources, while the main planet has incredible opulence along with deep poverty. Here, water is a metaphor for the wealth of both planets and the tearing down of walls between these two worlds.

“I come with empty hands and the desire to unbuild walls.”
Final Insights:
This was a great challenge as a self-directed project. I struggled at the beginning to find a concept that could highlight each book while also tying them together. Once I settled on a solid idea for the first book, The Left Hand of Darkness, I used that design as a template for the other two books, making my work both faster and more cohesive.

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